Picking up from last time –
We meet. We try to be friends. In fact, we meet a couple of times. I try not to bring up anything from the past the first time we meet, because, you know, come on. So much time has passed now. Shouldn’t I be “over it”?
But… I’m still having nightmares and such. And my anger is still kind of boiling over. So, toward the end of that conversation, I mention stuff a little…
Now that much more time has passed, he is a little more open to hearing me (keyword there being a little).
We end up hanging out 3 times in 2 weeks (plus having an additional pretty long phone call), and then we haven’t hung out again (and probably won’t). (We did speak a couple of times after that last time we hung out…But I think that’s done too.)
So, back to this last little clumps of times I interacted with him in those two weeks – now that a lot of time has passed and he’s cooled down, I get the chance to be at least a little heard when I ask him (re: the first assault… the one I think really bothered me the most and the one I brought up the most), “Was I not loud enough? Was I not clear enough? Did you really not know?”
I had brought up this day so many times with him.
Once, he told me (laughing), “I can’t believe I said, “It’s time. That’s so cheesy.” (Even though the problem wasn’t that it was cheesy, but that it was offensive and wrong, and really, trying to justify an illegal act.)
Another time I brought it up, he said if I didn’t want him there, I shouldn’t have asked [so desperately] in question form. Instead of saying, “Would it really be a big deal if we didn’t stay here tonight, please?” if instead I’d said, “Get out. You’re not staying here.”He said I should’ve “commanded,” not asked.
[Yeah, I’m sure that heavy handed kinda meanness would’ve played really well with him and I wouldn’t have been punished for that… (That’s sarcasm, by the way, in case that’s not playing well in print… And I know I don’t love sarcasm, but I’m using it right now in my upset not-always-knowing-how-to-deal-with-this way.)]
Another time, when I was telling him what a huge deal it was and how uncomfortable I was, he told me how honored he was that I let him stay in my bed. And I wanted to throw everything on the table at him and scream, “I’m not telling you how wildly incredibly unbelievably uncomfortable I was, and how unfair this was, for you to feel honored. I’m telling you because you did something really disrespectful and upsetting. And I want you to know what a big deal it was. It’s not an honor I gave you. It’s something you stole for yourself, and I’m angry about it.”
And on and on. Every time I talked about – those and other times… the whole night had been mentioned ad nauseum before, and every time I get a different answer – but every answer was either minimizing, pivoting, blaming, etc…
And it all still bothered me. At the time, I thought if I just got an apology – if we just found common ground, I’d feel better… And I guess I was always chasing it… (Though toward the end, when I didn’t trust him anyway and answers to everything were always changing based on the mood he was in, so how did I know what was real… What would it have mattered anyway?)
And yet… It seemed to still matter to me.
Because during that final hang out clump, I got to ask him in no uncertain terms – “Was I not loud enough? Was I not clear enough? Did you really not know?”
And he told me (verbatim!), “I knew… I knew you didn’t want to, but you needed to.” He was “helping me” this night.
And the real kicker here is, I calmly and patiently and empathetically listened as he almost teared up telling me how hard it was for him because I’m “not like other women.”
I got to hear about how other women liked having him over to their beds… Other women somehow felt safer in their own places apparently.
(I don’t what would lead him to believe I’d feel safer with someone in my own home than me being in someone else’s home – where it’s much much easier to leave than to get someone to leave…
Having someone in your own space can be a big deal and intimate. I’m sure some people do like it… I am not someone who generally likes it right away, and I stated that out loud…)
The point is, since other women apparently love to have him to their place because they, I guess, feel more comfortable in their own space… And since apparently they like for him to stay (even though I said a million times that spending the night after sex was a big deal for me, and definitely not my general MO (especially at the time, and especially in my place))… it was “so hard to be respectful toward me” because I was “soooo different” and he was trying “soooo hard.”
So, he told me, “I knew you didn’t want to, but you needed to.”
And instead of ever, ever getting to have a moment of strength or “justice” or whatever – instead of standing up to him and saying, “You knew I didn’t want to, but I needed to?! That’s insulting… And truly the definition of assault right there”…
Oh no. No. Instead, I calmly listened. And then I apologized.
“I’m so sorry that I’m so difficult… I’m so sorry that it’s so hard to respect my wishes. Goodness, I guess that must’ve been hard for you and confusing if all other women really like stuff I don’t.”
*hangs head in shame*, yet will somehow continue on with this tomorrow.